Chet Faker releases music with no expectations.
Like many new artists, he hopes for more positive responses than blatant hatred for his material but the Australian electro-soul artist didn’t expect what actually happened when his version of “No Diggity” hit the internet in 2011 – instantly putting him on the path to viral success and a growing base of support that lead to debut LP, Built On Glass.
But before we start picking apart how he came to the full-length album and the present, let’s go back to 2011 when he released the Blackstreet R&B standard. The Melbourne singer and musician was already putting music out there through the usual online outlets (SoundCloud, Twitter, Bandcamp) and while he seemed to get a response with other tracks, nothing prepared him for what the cover would bring.
“It was another late-night thing, like three in the morning,” Faker tells me from a spot in Brooklyn where he’s doing some promo for the album. “I did the whole beat first, and the vocals are the last thing I did. And I had ‘No Diggity’ stuck in my head. So when I got there, I just recorded the vocals, and it kind of worked…when people ask why that song, I just tell them that it was just stuck in my head. And I guess I put it on the EP because it was the most popular song on Twitter that I did.”
However Faker seems a bit modest when he talks about the success of the cover – it reached the top spot on the Hype Machine chart in May 2011 and later became the soundtrack for Super Bowl advert for Beck’s Sapphire in 2013. Hardly resting on his laurels, he continued to work and put out Thinking in Textures, released in 2012 and his first official body of work. “No one realizes that EP is the first time ever produced any of my music and sang and wrote the songs,” he explains. “I was just figuring it out. So there’s heaps of room for me to develop, and I guess I show that I’ve developed a bit more [on Built On Glass].”
Faker may have been green in the music world compared to more established talent coming out of his homeland two years ago but the EP won him two Australian Independent Record Awards – Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Independent Single/EP – as well as a Rolling Stone Australia Award for Best Independent Release. Again, he doesn’t dwell on the hype: “I’m surprised to the response I get in general with my music,” he says. “Sometimes I’ve got pinch myself. But I don’t really pay that much attention to it to be honest, though it feels nice.”